Monday, November 20, 2017


Avatars of the darkest elements of war, obcisidaemons primarily serve that particular apocalyptic Horseman (Szuriel, if you’re following Pathfinder canon).  Resembling a cross between a man, a wolf, and a smilodon—plus wings, because of course it has wings—this daemon’s most singular feature is the misty cloak of stolen souls it wears around itself.  It can tap the power of this supernatural cloak to boost its weapon, pump its saves, or heal itself—consuming one of the poor souls, of course.  But don’t worry; it’ll get a new soul when it kills your character.  Which it will, because did I mention it’s CR 19?

The obcisidaemon represents the horrors of war stripped of all the trappings of honor, loyalty, and glory, and then taken to their logical extremes—in particular, genocide.  Mass graves, concentration camps, super-weapon test sites, razed cities, and similar locations may draw an obcisidaemon if the planar boundary with Abaddon is thin enough.  Adventurers who defeat a genocidal tyrant may later find their foe’s shade serving one of these creatures.  Worse yet, their foe might be reincarnated as one of these creatures.

Duergar manage to set off a volcanic eruption and guide the subsequent rain of ash and lava to destroy a surface city.  Their triumph is short-lived, as the devastation causes an obcisidaemon to manifest in their capital with a number or daemonic retainers in tow.  Adventurers who wish to bring the duergar high archonus to justice will first have to retrieve his essence from the cloak of souls the daemon wears around itself.

The Horseman of War has been felled by a coup.  Now rival obcisidaemons hope to claim her mantle, and an axiomite city finds itself in the no man’s land between the two monsters’ forces.

Adventurers befriend a dusk elf—a gray-skinned, half-drow exile from another world.  Good-hearted but suspicious and close-mouthed, he says little about his native land, other than that it was ravaged by war, genocide, and blood feuds that go back hundreds of years.  (Indeed, his very birth is the end result of a breeding program of half-castes meant to serve as guerilla warriors and irregulars).  Only when the adventurers’ own nation becomes torn apart by civil war does he open up.  His nation was turn asunder by armies led by obcisidaemons that had broken free of their foolish summoners.  Worse yet, the adventurers discover that one of these daemons has seeded his true name in their world as well…and their own nation’s generals have made plans to summon him.

Pathfinder Bestiary 6 72–73

Oh hey guys!  There’s less that an hour to download last week’s radio show!  Maybe you should do it right now!  Featuring new Superchunk, new J. Roddy Walston, 25 years of R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, and more! Get it before midnight tonight (Monday, 11/20/17, U.S. Eastern)!

PS: Tomorrow night’s show is gonna be speeeeecialllll!  Stay tuned!

Monday, November 6, 2017


From an age before demons—from before even proteans—a Colossal fungal jellyfish undulates in the deepest oceans of the Abyss.  She is a being of evil fecundity who births inhuman monsters from blisterwomb pustules in her bell…half of which she devours on the spot, but the rest of whom escape to torment all creatures born of souls and sin…

This is the qlippoth lord, Oaur-Ooung.

You’re probably expecting me to invoke Lovecraft here.   But nope.  Oaur-Ooung isn’t a being out of Lovecraft—she’s a being out of Justice League Unlimited.  (The DC Animated Universe was very, very good at creating undulating blob monsters that birthed horror after horror. Tentacles, pseudopods, and flying jellies were all in the DCAU wheelhouse.  Lovecraftian it wasn’t, but Lovecrafty?  Sure.)

There are lots of stat block reasons for a wicked GM to love Oaur-Ooung, including mythic ranks, near-immortality, tentacle attacks that reach 600 ft. (hope you brought a big enough battlemat), skin that spews swarms when wounded, blisterwombs that can birth a CR 20’s worth of qlippoth each day…oh, and any creature she kills with her slam attack rises as a qlippoth too. Good times!

But the best reason to use her is that she is a truly terrifying mother of monsters.  Everyone gets that.  If you’ve spent too much brainpower trying to parse the subtle gradations of lawful evil separating asuras, devils, kytons, and rakshasas, or if you’ve faced a table of blank-faced players as you attempted to make effable the ineffable horrors of the Outer Gods vs. the Dominion of the Black, there’s something wonderfully simple about Oaur-Ooung.  “Before demons existed in the Abyss, there were these horrible bug-crab-dog-proto-demons called qlippoth.  This one is their queen.  In fact, she might also be their mom.  She’s a jellyfish who flies.  She gives birth to monsters, and she looks like she’s about to disgorge something the size of Godzilla any day now. Roll for initiative.”  It turns out horror can be cosmic and from the-time-before-time and yet not make your brain hurt.  Who knew?

PS: For those parties not up for tangling with a mythic CR 23 qlippoth lord, she has cults too!  Dedicated to surgical alteration, fleshwarping, and consuming one’s enemies.  So that’s always fun.  Even if your PCs never actually face Oaur-Ooung at the table, she can still inspire plenty of lower-level evil.

One final note: In D&D 3.5, the tanar’ri (roughly equivalent to Pathfinder’s demons) once overthrew the obyriths (Pathfinder’s qlippoth)…but a new race known as loumaras was growing in strength.  Pathfinder doesn’t have a loumara equivalent…but maybe that’s what Mama Oaur-Ooung is cooking…

To their horror, adventurers discover that their entire career has been guided—and even, at times, aided and abetted—by the dread hand of the demon lord Pazuzu.  Yet even the party’s holiest allies can detect no sign of the demon lord’s corruption upon them.  The reason for Pazuzu’s machinations eventually becomes clear: He fears the child swelling in Oaur-Ooung’s greatest blisterwomb, and he needed to hold a few pawns untouched by the Abyss in reserve to end the threat the qlippoth lord and her child pose to existence.

The good news: Adventurers don’t always have to fight Oaur-Ooung.  They bad news: They may have to act as bait.  Adventurers tasked with returning a long-lost race of sylphs to the Elemental Plane of Air must first ferry them through the waters of the Abyss.  Such a foul baptism is the only way to remove the ancestral curse the sylphs have labored under for so long…but it will put them dangerously close to the qlippoth lord’s domain unless she is distracted elsewhere…

After repelling an invasion of fleshwarped corsairs aboard skinwing cutters, a party of do-gooders has taken the fight against demonkind to the stars.  Their adventures have seen them hopping from planet to plane and back, introducing them to water-tainted dwarf summoners, girtablilu temple ships, dream-farming dragons, angelic anarchs and a moon lost to oni corruption.  But always the adventurers have sought ways to drive the skinwing fleet from their solar system…which will eventually lead them to a dead star, an ark made of chitin, and a qlippoth queen who long ago traded the waters of the Abyss for the vacuum of Birthspace…

Pathfinder Bestiary 6 236–237

If you’re at all curious about D&D 3.5’s demons, I once again invite you to check out my series on the best D&D 3.0/3.5 books for Pathfinder GMs, especially this entry (which covers Hordes of the Abyss) and this entry (Book of Vile Darkness).

Tumblr readers got a preview of this on one of my radio show posts, but for my Blogger readers and those who missed it, I’ll paraphrase: After a promising start, October became the perfect storm of bad health (mine this time), caregiver demands, and unexpected surprises. Please bear with me for a little while as I (hopefully) start to right the ship. I’m starting to have more breathing room, but it’s a ways off yet.  Thanks.

If you didn’t get enough Halloween fun last week, there are just a few more hours left to snag my Halloween radio show.  No “Monster Mash” here, but plenty of songs about ghosts, devils, hauntings, and other things that go bump in the night.  You’ve got till midnight tonight (Monday, 11/06/17, U.S. Eastern) to stream/download it, so click here!

(Also, while a few October radio shows never got posted, I think on the whole you only missed one or two, since my recent scheduling woes also hammered my radio show attendance.)